Thursday, March 11, 2010




for Alysia


Crazy lady in your masks and vehement opinions

about which of all your secret agencies

tortured the starfish overnight

when you weren’t looking

into confessing what constellation it fell from.

Crazy lady can I take you for a sign

the storm has stepped down from its pulpit

because life never cared very much

if it was understood

and you’ve got worlds in your closet

like the unfullfilled graves

of overly sensitive shoes

that want to try you on like a road

that never goes back on its word?

You’re famous as a lover

among the prophetic skulls of the paramours

for always finding the right house

on the right street on the right night

but entering through the wrong door.

You’re a cat-burglar whose heart

goes off like an alarm

everytime you get away

with another break and enter on the moon.

Though you never steal anything

that can’t be put back

I always keep my third eye open

when I’m around you

even if I’m sleeping alone

so I don’t wake up in the morning

and find my will to live shamelessly gone.

Crazy lady you rain on the sphinx in the desert

and write your name in hieroglyphic birthmarks

inside the cosmic glain of a royal cartouche

to say you were here once

and tomorrow you’ll be born again

as a black swan on a midnight river

and after that who knows

maybe you’ll become a voice coach

for a travelling talent show.

Crazy lady I adore you

for the things you throw away

like the unconvincing lines

of a bad morality play.

You’re the wise witch

of your own stagecraft

on the coal road to diamond alone.

And if the clarity drives you insane.

If your freedom seems in vain.

If you hurt in ways you can’t explain

and people are washing up along your coasts

looking for their ghosts among the dead

who gibber through your head

like bats in a lighthouse

in a frenzy of light

they mistake for a mystic experience,

tell them you salvaged all you could from the wreck

when the full moon bounced like a bad cheque

and the lifeboat overturned.

Tell them you’re not the continent

they’re looking for

and just because you’ve left the door ajar

doesn’t mean they can track their lives in

without knocking from the inside.

Crazy lady you were a widow

before you were a bride

like the new moon

rising over black waters

that broke like a watershed of pain

when you were christened

like the last lifeboat to leave Atlantis

without anyone on board.

Crazy lady no one knows

what you’ve buried at sea

when you trafficked in slavery

and captured me on my way

to have my fortune read.

How lightly I wear your chains even now

and for all the things you might be

I can’t see

forgive you somehow

for the mischance of my liberty.

The world loves freedom

but it hates the free.

The world preaches love

but love remains a mystery.

Take your chains off

and the spiders will scoff

that you’ll starve to death

without a dreamcatcher

to snare the butterfly.

Everyone reaches for high ideals

when they’re down and out at their heels

but they eat their own

like swine and farrow

when you throw them a bone

they can gnaw on like gold

down to the nutritive marrow.

And today talks a lot about tomorrow

as the living talk about the dead

as if they knew

what the dead would say

about today languishing on its deathbed

like the prelude of an afterlife that goes on forever

like a weather warning

trying to keep up with a cold front.

Crazy lady let the others thump

their monkey hearts

in a triumph of bread and circuses

to keep the mob

from spying on the watchers

and everyone and everything in its place

face by face as they put

laurels on the winners for their folly.

Don’t let the blaze blind the candle

to its own light.

Night upon night

your darkness outshines them all.

Crazy lady the fireflies

might align your mirrors

like cepheid variables

to a constellation

that changes your eyes like mood rings

and the wind never finish the loveletter

it was writing to you

in a language only you could understand

like the leaves of the poetic tree-letter Q

in the apple groves

of a Druidic tree alphabet

that sings like an orchard in bloom on the moon

because there is no end

of the things it can say

about the way

everything changes around you

like Daphne turning herself into a laurel tree

just as Apollo catches up to her

as if he were catching his breath.

Crazy lady if the others can’t see

how brave you must be

to be so free with your light

in so many dark places

where the world is not impounded

by the memory of what it thought it was,

remember they can only know the outlines of things

however they connect the stars like dots in a thought-chain,

but you know how to break into light

like a night without laws.

Life happens to them from the outside

because they don’t know how to live as you do

like a cause that’s free of its own effects. 

Take perfect from perfect it’s still perfect.

Crazy lady I know you know

like a voice in a stairwell

that knows you’re there

hiding from a thousand thousand things

enlightenment finds its wisest fools

among the rejects of the usual schools

who couldn’t shape their radiance to the rules.

Their lamps can find their way to the barn.

Their starfish can cling to the rock.

But you’ve got eyes that shine alone in the dark

like two waterbirds disappearing

into the waywardness of their wings

without leaving a trace of their wandering anywhere.

They’ve got too many palings on their fence

to find a hole that would let them get out

and beyond things.

And there are locks on the gates

of the secret gardens in their hearts

they keep shut to keep things in.

They might collect stars

in the canning jar of a telescope

but crazy lady you’re the one

that undoes the lid

and lets them all fly free.

You’re what the rest of us

are supposed to be.

Free and happy

just to see

peerlessly into the mystery

there’s nothing we can’t be

or have been

or will become

that isn’t as clear as freedom

to the stars that envy us

the rarity of seeing

beyond the lucidity of being

into our own unwitnessed reality

that views the world on tour

in a field of play

that makes its themes up as it goes

like a river that flows

as easily up the mountain

of its lone reflection

as down the one

that took off its clothes

like spring snows

and jumped in.